Myra's Power Woman: Mira Jacobs
Our Storyteller Of The Year: Mira Jacob
Myra presents a creative offering.
"We were nobodies out there. I think I started writing so we could exist."
Author : Mira Jacob
Sleepwalker's Guide To Dancing
Kamala and Thomas Eapen left India in search of a better existence, raising their children, Amina and Akhil, in dusty New Mexico. Amina moves to Seattle, but an urgent phone call from her prone-to-exaggeration mother draws her back into a life she left behind.
Mira Jacobs takes us with her as she follows the family across decades, discovering the ways in which grief outlines their efforts at fashioning a new life. All through the narratives, it is easy to sympathise with even the most volatile characters. The title of the book refers to the actual sleepwalker in the story. But it is probably also an annotation on the way so many of us live - going through the motions, but not truthfully present in the moment.
Mira never mislays the core of the familial connections; instead she fabricates the shamboli frame of family life with joy, stubbornness, person tragedies and flashes of levity.
| On Writing |
"I want to say something amazing like 'death of my father!' or 'avenging my mother!' but I grew up East Indian in New Mexico which is a very sparsely populated state in the first place and there were maybe four Indian families the entire time I was growing up, we were so invisible.
There was no 'us' or 'story of us' and I started writing because I felt like a real person. You could see narratives of the American kids, you could see the narratives of the Hispanic, even the Native Americans seemed to have more of a narrative than we did: we were nobodies out there. I think I started writing so we could exist."
| On Being Labelled As A Diaspora Author |
"Everything that any American-Indian woman write does, it's like our seven degrees of separation over there. I just write the stories that move me, especially the time when Indians moving to America. I write about stories that matter to me and usually those are the stories of disjunction and the stories that feel like a little bit out of your skin and unable to process the world around you."
| On Her rendezvous With Indian Culture |
"I've been born and brought up there, but I keep coming back (to India) every other year. It's funny because it's a culture of almost longing for me. I know culture more as a series of feverish dreams that my parents narrate to me. Because if I left America and took my family somewhere else, I'd be haunted by all that I've lost. So, it's the culture of being haunted."
| On Managing Work And Home |
"I was working in corporate America for ten years while I wrote this book. I ran huge websites editorially and I wrote this book from eleven o'clock in the night to one in the morning. I had to work eight to eight in the day and come back to my kid, it was rough, and I'd still do it again because I don't think you can really... I don't know of many people who can make a living off of only writing."
| On Reading And Contemporary Authors She Enjoys |
"Yes, I still make time for reading and I scare my husband by how much I read. I am between three to four books that I'm reading at any given time. There are a bunch of contemporary authors that I love.
I love Sherman Alexie. He's a Native American writer in the States and he's brutally funny. It's terrifying because he writes about terribly sad things and so you're laughing through these incredibly dark things and you realise that this is the survival instinct he has.
I love Junot Diaz, as well for the same thing. And Chimamanda. She wrote Americanah. That might be my favourite book that I have read last year. I thought it was really fantastic. It does this great thing - she tells a love story. It's not a stupid love story, a dismissible love story, a love story which she got too embarrassed to write; it's a political, heavily charged, highly loaded loved story. I admire her to death for doing it."